SOUTH BEND – Few teams have been a thorn in Notre Dame’s side more than Boston College.
The Eagles have handed the Irish upset or momentum-stopping losses for decades and ruined perfect seasons, but Notre Dame players said they are not getting caught up in the past.
The history doesn’t mean anything, center Braxston Cave said Wednesday. New team, new year, we are just going out to grab another win on the road.
As the No. 4 Irish (9-0) try to grab that win on the road over the Eagles (2-7) on Saturday, here is a look at three Boston College victories that hurt a Notre Dame season:
Boston College 41, Notre Dame 39
When: Nov. 20, 1993
Going in: Notre Dame was 10-0 and coming off a 31-24 victory over Florida State that propelled it to No. 1 in the rankings and a shot at a second national title in six years.
The Game: The Eagles were no pushovers, coming in ranked No. 17. And the game went down to the wire with Boston College’s David Gordon making a 41-yard field goal as time expired to hand the Irish their only loss.
Aftermath: Notre Dame defeated Texas A&M 24-21 in the Cotton Bowl and finished No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25, but Florida State came away with the national championship when it defeated Nebraska 18-16 in the Orange Bowl.
Boston College 14, Notre Dame 7
When: Nov. 2, 2002
Going in: Just like nine years earlier, the Irish were coming home after a road win over Florida State and were 8-0 under new coach Tyrone Willingham.
The Game: Notre Dame surprised everyone by wearing green jerseys, normally reserved for big games. Boston College, which was 4-3 coming into the game, took advantage of five Notre Dame turnovers, and Josh Ott’s 71-yard interception return for a touchdown all but sealed the Irish’s fate.
Aftermath: Notre Dame went 2-2 the rest of the way with wins over Navy (30-23) and Rutgers (42-0) but suffered blowout losses to USC (44-13) and North Carolina State (28-6) in the Gator Bowl.
Boston College 24, Notre Dame 23
When: Oct. 23, 2004
Going in: Notre Dame was 5-3 entering the home game and needed one more win to become bowl-eligible. The Irish were coming off wins over Stanford and Navy and were looking to end the Eagles’ three-game winning streak in the series.
The Game: Notre Dame took a 20-7 halftime lead, but everything unraveled in the second half. Boston College outgained the Irish 319-123 as it rallied to score 17 points with Paul Peterson throwing a 30-yard touchdown pass with less than a minute to play.
Aftermath: The loss all but sealed Willingham’s fate at Notre Dame, even after the Irish went to No. 9 Tennessee the next week and scored a 17-13 upset victory. The Irish lost their next three games, falling to Pittsburgh, USC and Oregon State, and Willingham was fired after the season as the series took a two-year break.